The Founders of our nation toiled long and hard to establish a government that was representative of the people. They actually designed a reasonably effective system, but over the years, significant metamorphosis has occurred, producing something that is quite dissimilar from their original intent.
There were not a lot of perks for early congressional representatives, and the pay was quite meager. People willing to take on such responsibilities were unlikely to be desirous of perpetual re-election. In many ways, this was a good thing — frequent replacement of representatives increased the likelihood that they would have their finger on the pulse of the communities they represented.
Our Founders also saw no reason for a gigantic central government, because they felt that the states would be much more in tune with the needs of their constituents and be able to provide appropriate legislation to facilitate local and national goals. They felt that the purpose of the government was to protect the people from foreign and hostile domestic forces, to protect their property and to enable their pursuit of happiness. Obviously, there were some other purposes, like facilitating transportation and containing disease, but the point is, limited federal government was desirable, as was maximum freedom for the people.
One of the prime advantages of a small central government was that it would only require a small amount of tax revenue to sustain itself. The Founders knew from studying past civilizations that the nation’s resources would either belong to the people or to the government, and they preferred the former. Our Founders as well as many of our revered social commentators have had some interesting things to say about our government and the legislative process: